The NASCAR Cup race on Sunday, July 30th, at Richmond Raceway went by with calculated strategy rather than “hit and run” havoc. The temperatures were still quite hot with in-car readings reaching 130 degrees. The pressure was on for a win as the Playoff season is coming fast. (The cut off race is Daytona at the end of August).

Team mates Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher were the race lap leaders for almost half of the Cookout 400. Keselowski is also an owner for the Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing team.

There were only 3 cautions and 2 were the stage finishes. The third came as the race was coming to a close setting up a 3 lap run for the checkers that had Buescher leading Denny Hamlin by half a second. The #17 Fastenal RFK Ford was well in front of the #11 of Hamlin before the caution.

Pit stops proved to be the “make it or break it” events for the race. Bubba Wallace had a good early run but a tire change mishap set him back. Pole sitter Tyler Reddick was flagged for a pit commitment violation and had to race back to a 16th place finish. Brad Keselowski also had a pit sequence which had him in the stall a bit too long with an odd angle going in forcing extra time on exit.

Tyler Reddick was the stage 1 winner. Brad Keselowski took stage 2.

Buescher’s win sets him into the playoffs. Denny Hamlin ran 2nd. Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Ryan Preece filled the top 5.

PHOTO GALLERY – NASCAR CUP – Richmond Raceway – Cookout 400 – July 30, 2023

NASCAR mid-summer weekend at Richmond Raceway was a hot one. Temperatures pushed well into the nineties and the racing brought a challenge to teams and drivers. The late July schedule brought the Craftsman Series Trucks and NASCAR Cup to the Virginia capitol city on Saturday, July 29th.

The trucks faced a deadline as the Worldwide Express 250 at Richmond was the last race to make the series Playoffs. A win to secure or a points ride sufficient to cling to a spot was essential. Ty Majeski was going for it with a pole start and both stage wins. However, a pit road speeding mistake put him back in the field. This proved to be the point that upset the evening for the #98 ThorSport Racing Ford.

Majeski was able to race back to the front but it cost him a late race pit stop so he was out on track racing against fresh rubber on competitors’ trucks as the laps wound down. Those newer tires allowed #42 Niece Motorsports Chevy driver, Carson Hocevar, driving with the title sponsor Worldwide Express on the panels, to take the lead with three laps to go. The Richmond win for Hocevar made his third of the season as he drove from a 17th place start to win the night.

Majeski still had season points to make the Playoffs. The win would have been a boost but Majeski, Nicholas Sanchez, Matt Dibenedetto and series veteran Matt Crafton just made it in on points.

Corey Heim, Zane Smith, Carson Hocevar, Christian Eckes, Grant Enfinger, Ty Majeski, Ben Rhodes and Nicholas Sanchez, Matt Dibenedetto and Matt Crafton are racing into the Round of Ten with their next race coming at Indianapolis.

PHOTO GALLERY – Worldwide Express 250 – Craftsman Series Trucks at Richmond Raceway

It almost appeared to be a Hendrick vs Gibbs kind of day at Richmond Raceway. The Toyota Owners 400 had good shows from Denny Hamlin with a stage win and others from the Toyota stable making good runs. It was the Hendrick drivers that ran the edge.

William Byron was pressing the lead with a stage win and up front performance. A late race restart jumbled the front row as Christopher Bell ran up on Byron’s #24 with a shove a bit too hard which spun Byron towards the outside wall.

This set a stage for another restart and another pair of Hendrick drivers to run for the finish. Kyle Larson in the #5 and the Chase Elliott fill driver, Josh Berry, in the #9. Byron was way back in the field after a good run for the day but time and damage had the #24 now. The final laps turned over and it was Kyle Larson out front for the win. Berry held on for a well earned 2nd place for his Cup filler Richmond run.

Ross Chastain followed for third on the day. Christopher Bell and Kevin Harvick filled the top five.

The main NASCAR Cup eveny on Sunday, April 2nd closed a weekend of weather variety. The Whelen Modified race from Friday was pushed to Saturday as rain began minutes before the scheduled green flag. Practice and qualifying for the XFinity and Cup series was also blown out Saturday morning. The XFinity and Whelen races went off Saturday afternoon as winds kicked up a bit. For Cup Sunday, the skies were blue and the racing was set on schedule.

Racing returns to Richmond in July. Photos from the Sunday, April 2nd Toyota Owners 400 are below!

Wow… Somewhat unexpected but not completely. Kevin Harvick won at Richmond.

Kyle Larson had the pole in the Federated Auto Parts 400 and finished 14th. Harvick started 13th and crossed the checkers with the win so it was almost a spot trade. It’s OK as Larson is still ranked a few spots above Harvick even though Larson has one win against Harvick’s two…

It is NASCAR points math… Just run with it and don’t be confused…

Ross Chastain was the stage 1 winner. Joey Logano took stage 2 and also led the race for the high count of 222 laps.

We also have to take a late season look at Harvick… There could be any combination of reasons that kept Harvick out of Victory Lane for so long. The “new” NextGen car, team and crew issues, experience tempered with age… What can’t be overlooked, however, is that Kevin is a Cup Champion that has a history in this sport that bridges the past and future. It was Harvick who drove the Earnhardt car with #29 in 2001…

However, one week before Richmond, Harvick broke a 65 race winless streak at Michigan. Now he has two wins back to back with the 60th Cup win just now at Richmond…

Has something clicked…? Has this new car come into the grips of Harvick just in time to make a real run in 2022…? Was 2021 on cruise control…? Did Stewart-Haas change the coffee in the shop…?

Harvick’s Crew Chief, Rodney Childers, believes the team and all involved have been steadily taking the new car forward for the past few months and it is coming together with results.

Whatever, the reason… Luck, skill or collaboration… The #4 team have two wins and, no matter who wins or loses before the playoff cutooff, that puts Harvick in the post-season Championship run.

NASCAR moves on to the two final races in the regular season. Watkins Glen and Daytona give the final chances to “win in” to the playoffs. Ryan Blaney is currently in the mix without a season win so far. If another driver wins that hasn’t already Blaney’s points move to the back burner.

Darlington is the first race in the playoffs. Martinsville is the last elimination before the “Championship 4” go for it at Phoenix.

Full PHOTO GALLERY – Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway

The Camping World Series is already in their playoff season with Grant Enfinger taking the first playoff win at Indy on July 29. (NASCAR Cup has a couple more to go)

Richmond notched a 3rd season win for Chandler Smith and put him in the mix with Enfinger to move to the next round. Three time series champ Matt Crafton is in a must win position going to Kansas in September.

Ty Majeski had the pole and the 1st stage. Chandler took stage 2 and the race win. The top 4 drivers across the line at Richmond, Chandler Smith, John H. Nemechek, Ty Majeski and Grant Enfinger are all chasing playoff points.

Full Photo Gallery – Worldwide Express 250 for Carrier Appreciation at Richmond Raceway

National racing attention is on the doorstep of Virginia. NASCAR and IMSA are this month (August).

NASCAR is first and just a week away at Richmond Raceway. The “regular season” of NASCAR Cup racing is getting into “last chance” time. Four races remain, including today at Michigan.

For Virginia fans, Richmond is next. The Federated Auto Parts 400 weekend also hosts the Camping World Trucks, which is already into their “playoff” season. The Worldwide Express 250 for Carrier Appreciation is the second race of the Trucks championship run. It is a Saturday and Sunday of action on track with start times set in the afternoon.

Race week at Richmond includes the chance to drive on track for charity benefiting Special Olympics of Virginia. The Pixar movie “CARS” will be shown, a concerts are set with Cody Christian Duo, Cody Johnson and more. Local music, Kids Zones, autograph sessions and midway plaza shows are also filling out fan activities around the track.

Racing will be tight at Richmond. There are some hot drivers still chasing a win to make the Cup playoffs. For the Trucks, the championship is already on the line with this race forward.

A few weeks later another big series comes to race in Virginia. The IMSA-WeatherTech series will take over Southside at Virginia International Raceway. The showcase Michelin Gt Challenge shares the weekend with the Michelin Pilot Challenge, Prototype Challenge, Lamborghini Super Trofeo and Mazda MX-5 Cup. It is a full schedule of sports car racing!

The weekend also hosts Car Corrals for fans’ parking, a driver-fan discussion forum, music with American Idol performer, Dan Marshall, race day appearance with Miss Virginia and full display area with activities for kids.

Active Military are in for free and Veterans receive 50% off tickets (Government issued ID at gate).

These big series are always a show. However, let’s not forget the weekly racing all over Virginia also putting on great racing and family entertainment. The variety of racing in Virginia is what makes it great for racing Lovers!

We’re stepping quickly into July. Virginia has been hosting big events like SRX at South Boston in June and NHRA at Virginia Motorsports Park in May. The first two legs of the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown roll in July, one already at South Boston and the second coming to Langley.

For August, Richmond hosts NASCAR Cup and Virginia International Raceway hosts IMSA WeatherTech. VIR has been busy with events like HyperFest and a good prelude to IMSA, the FANATEC GT World Challenge. Richmond Raceway is busy with non-racing community and culture events. However, when racing is on the calendar, Richmond is all in with the business of speed.

For NASCAR and IMSA, the racing this season has been wide open. The “new” NASCAR Cup car is making itself known to the teams, drivers and fans. The variety and speed of IMSA continues to draw and the racing has been challenging across the divisions.

As we approach August and Virginia racing, it seems the number 9 may be coming in fast…

Race winners are shown across the board for manufacturers with 13 winners and, among those, 5 are repeat winners, including Chase Elliott in the Hendrick #9 Chevrolet. Elliott currently has a points lead and Hendrick Motorsports as a team has logged wins with all four drivers (Elliott, Byron, Larson, Bowman).

Chase Elliott (#9 NAPA Chevy) leading in NASCAR Cup points (July 2022)

For IMSA, the #9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R has been making big waves in the GTD Pro class. Drivers Mathieu Jaminet and Matt Campbell have multiple wins and the plaid Porsche team are keeping the pressure on.

Number 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche (Jaminet / Campbell) leading in IMSA GTD Pro (July 2022)

There is plenty of racing before August 13-14 and NASCAR Cup at Richmond Raceway and August 26-28 and IMSA/WeatherTech at Virginia International Raceway. It will be interesting to follow those Number 9 cars and drivers on their way here.